The New Orleans-based smoothie purveyor plans to branch into the East Coast.
Smoothie King has signed a three-store deal with local lawyer Elizabeth Szabo, who will open her first Smoothie King location, and the first in the Pittsburgh area, at the Chartiers Valley Shopping Center in Bridgeville, Penn., this fall.
Szabo plans to open in the Niko’s Coffee Shop end of 2015 and is closing in on a lease for a second location in the Wexford area. She also plans to expand beyond her first three store commitment.
“I always did want to own my own business and I wanted to do something that no one else was doing in the area,” said Szabo. “This is sort of a niche market but smoothies are for everybody.”
The 29-year-old holds a law degree specializing in Intellectual Property from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master's degree from Cornell. She realized there was huge void in the Pittsburgh area for what Smoothie King offered when she would drive out seeking to buy a smoothie for herself and found no options.
Smoothie King ranks as the number one franchise in the juice bar category by Entrepreneur magazine, according to the company. The smoothies target different health goals, like weight loss or increased energy. The franchise also sells a host of nutritional supplements, providing what Szabo said was a unique option in the region.
Now is the time to introduce Smoothie King in Pittsburgh, according to Szabo. She believes there's a misperception of the region's dining habits and expects a growing interest in healthy living in Pittsburgh.
"It’s just a total opportunity here. There's a demand and there’s nowhere really to go," she said. "It's a total untapped market."
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